Utah Valley University women’s volleyball star outside hitter Avery Shewell has made some great strides for the Wolverines as a true freshman.
“I couldn’t do that without my teammates and they’re all amazing,” said Shewell. “I wouldn’t be able to get offensive if I didn’t have Bryton [Nixon] and Kaz [Tanuvasa] passing with me, the setters, and the other hitters pulling the block. I couldn’t do that by myself. All the girls have been supportive and helpful. We’ve definitely come to trust each other.”
Shewell through her plays has shown effectiveness on both sides of the game. As of Nov. 9, Shewell had 204 kills, eight assists, 24 service aces, and 250.5 points on offense. On the defensive side of things, she had 117 digs, eight solo blocks, 29 assisted blocks, and 37.0 total blocks.
The Wolverines have also been winning a lot of games since Oct. 6, going 9-1 since then as of Nov. 9. At the time of reporting, the Wolverines were 16-8 on the season and 10-2 in conference play.
“I think, especially since the preseason, we’ve gotten a lot better and we’ve learned how to work more as a team,” Shewell said. “I also feel like our mindset going into the games is that it doesn’t matter what our record is or what the other team’s record is, it’s just a ‘we’re here to play volleyball’ kind of thing. I also think we’re very emerged, we just keep getting better. It’s fun.”
Like every team, the Wolverines have faced adversity, starting the season 0-3 and having another three-game skid against in-state rivals Utah State University, Weber State University, and (at the time) No. 15 Brigham Young University in mid-September. However, the Wolverines responded each time, most recently rallying off a nine-game win streak.
“One thing that I think is unique about the team here that a lot of other teams don’t have is that we’re a really close-knit group,” Shewell added. “We all get along really well, there’s no drama on the team and I feel like that translates onto the court in a good way. If somebody makes a mistake, everybody’s there to support you instead of tearing you down, which I feel like on other teams we’ve played, it seemed like that’s been kind of what they fall back to. I think that’s definitely helped us stay together as a team and be able to perform better.”
Shewell said that it wasn’t only the team culture that led her to choose the Wolverines, but also the girls on the team.
“They’re all great people and I feel like there are a lot of teams where you can have some great people, but it’s really special here,” said Shewell.
Shewell said she enjoys each new win the Wolverines get, but she especially enjoyed playing against Abilene Christian University and Tarleton State University due to their hospitality and how well the Wolverines played.
As a freshman at UVU, Shewell is studying Criminal Justice and plans to eventually move on to law school to become a lawyer.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve always liked to stand up and defend other people,” said Shewell. “ … The goal there is that I like to defend people and I like to make sure everything’s fair, so being a lawyer just seemed like something that was right for me.”
When she isn’t on the court, Shewell enjoys a myriad of activities, including being outdoors, painting, drawing, playing the piano, and watching her dog, Rosie.
The Wolverines’ final two games of the regular season will be against California Baptist University on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. MT in Riverside, California and Grand Canyon University on Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. MT in Phoenix, Arizona. Both matches can be streamed on ESPN+.
Sophomore at UVU. Writer for the UVU review, statistician for UVU ESPN+, and play-by-play commentator for UVU Men’s Lacrosse.